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A Guide To Buying And Selling Property In America

40% of Americans agree that property transactions are one of the most stressful life events. Whether you’re a budding first-time buyer or seller or an American newcomer engaging in a property transaction from abroad, it’s best to know about the buying and selling process in America.  Knowing what you’re in for ahead of time will help you fully understand potential frustrating hiccups to expect so you’re not disappointed if one shows up.

Keep reading as we brief you on the comprehensive property transaction process – whether you’re buying or selling – so you assuredly know what to expect.

Purchasing Property In America: A Step-By-Step Rundown

Purchasing property is an exciting experience, from the awe of imagining yourself in a new space to the DIY and decorating after you move. However, the mess between these steps can be stressful without the proper knowledge. Let’s discuss the process.

Finding A Property

When finding a property in America, you have two primary routes to take:

  • Using multiple listing sites: you can book viewings based on images compiled online from different real estate agents in the area. A multiple listing site gives you access to every single property for sale, and you can filter the results in line with how many bedrooms you need, your budget, and special features you’d ideally like, such as a garden or parking.
  • Using a real estate agent: If you haven’t got time to browse for properties and arrange viewings yourself, you can delegate the task to a real estate agent. They will be able to compile a list of properties compatible with your needs and specifications. All you need to do is attend the viewings and advise the agent on your schedule for bookings.

Once you have found your property via these routes, it’s time to make an offer. You may have a few offers rejected before the process is over, as there may be multiple buyers bidding for the same home – especially if it’s a good one!

Consulting With A Mortgage Lender

Before you make any offer on a property, however, you need to know definitively how much you can borrow for the mortgage (unless you’re a fortunate cash buyer, of course). So, you’ll need to consult a knowledgeable and helpful mortgage lender or multiple people to get the best offer.

This will involve submitting evidence of your savings, income, residential status, and more. Once you have provided these details, you will receive a reasonable offer based on what the lender thinks you can afford.

The Legal Process

Once you have entered the purchase process, it’s time to take legal action. Here’s what’s involved:

  • Open an escrow account: An escrow account ensures a third, neutral party handles the legal documents and agreements made between the buyer and the seller with diplomatic expertise, so nobody is treated unfairly.
  • Title search and insurance: With a title search and insurance, you ensure unscrupulously that nobody else has a claim to your property and that the land is not owned by anyone.


You’ll need reassuring legal advice on the closing documents you receive before signing to ensure nothing is out of the ordinary. Before embarking on the property transfer process, it’s best to educate yourself on property transfer taxes. They differ by state (Hawaii being the lowest, and New Jersey the highest) and failing to prepare may cause a divot in your financial planning.

Before signing, you’ll also need to pay fees to the real estate agent, your legal advisors, and your mortgage advisor. Once you’ve signed, it’s time to eagerly pick up the keys and bask in the excitement.

Selling Property In America: A Step-By-Step Rundown

On the selling side, you’ll experience most of the same things in reverse. But you’ll need to put a little more effort into marketing your property.

Listing Your Property

The process starts before the listing on the seller’s side. You’ll need to make your property a little more tantalizing to buyers with some cosmetic upgrades. Then, it’s time to find a real estate agent and have stunning property photos taken. Once the property has been valued and listed, it’s time to wait for offers and search for a new home.

The Legal Process

Once you’ve received an offer, you’ll need to consult legal advice to hand over the deed. If the buyer decides to have a survey performed, you may need to make compromises on the selling price due to any large issues identified with the property.

Once the matter is settled and you have signed the deed transfer, you must hand in your keys ready for the buyers to collect and ensure your belongings are removed from the house.


If you know about the process and what to expect, it can alleviate some stress associated with property transactions. Your legal advisors, mortgage lenders, and real estate agents can talk you through the ins and outs every step of the way, and all you need to do is eagerly comply while clearly communicating your grounds and expectations. Breathe, stay calm, and focus on the present – and you’ll be able to handle any curveballs that come your way.